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Middlesbrough close in on Gestede deal after drawing blank against Leicester


Making plans: Aitor Karanka looks on yesterday

Making plans: Aitor Karanka looks on yesterday


Making plans: Aitor Karanka looks on yesterday

Aitor Karanka evaded questions regarding Middlesbrough's interest in signing Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede after his side's dour goalless draw against champions Leicester.

Villa are understood to have accepted a fee in the region of £6million for the Benin forward who was left out of the squad for his side's trip to Cardiff yesterday.

Gestede is believed to be on Teesside to tie up the deal but Karanka denied having met the player and added: "I want to finish the transfer market with a better squad than we have now and we have one month.

"I think for us it's about keeping going. We know it's going to be difficult to win games because we can't forget we were in the Championship last season. When we take our chances we will win."

Karanka had an issue with the failure of referee Robert Madley to award a first-half penalty after Adama Traore tumbled under a Robert Huth challenge.

But Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri responded: "It that is a penalty, I am the pope."

Karanka insisted another point against the Foxes, coming after November's 2-2 draw at the Walkers Stadium, underlined his side's Premier League credentials.

He added: "I am really pleased with the performance because when we played away against them we were better than them, and we showed again today that we are better than them.

"We can't forget that this season they are not in a comfortable position but they are in the Champions League and they are a really good team, so for us to play them twice and show we could have won those games is very pleasing."

Ranieri was equally coy about his own side's January transfer targets, even insisting of his side's reported main target, Genk's Wilfred Ndidi: "I haven't seen Ndidi - I don't know who he is."

On the match, Ranieri said: "We had a good spirit and one point is okay - the second clean sheet in a row is good for us.

"We were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit.

"We won a lot of tackles. We worked very well in midfield and I explained how we have to move on and show a good attitude."


MIDDLESBROUGH: Guzan, Barragan (Friend, 33 mins), Chambers, Gibson, Fabio, Traore (Downing, 79 mins), Clayton, Forshaw (Leadbitter, 88 mins), De Roon, Ramirez, Negredo. Unused subs: Konstantopoulos, Bernardo, Stuani, Rhodes.

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Amarty, Okazaki (Gray, 73 mins), Mendy (Albrighton, 83 mins), King, Mahrez (Musa, 71 mins), Ulloa. Unused subs: Zieler, Hernandez, Chilwell, Wasilewski.

Referee: Robert Madley

Man of the match: George Friend

Match rating: 5/10

Belfast Telegraph